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Perishable Thoughts — Building
The Future Of Our Industry

Tim York, President of the Markon Cooperative, Salinas, California, is really quite an exceptional industry leader. He not only rose to become Chairman of the Produce Marketing Association but, after that chairmanship, has remained an important contributor to the industry, seizing opportunities to establish the buyer-led food safety initiative, for which he was awarded a Perishable Pundit Single Step Award, and, currently, serves as Chairman of the Center for Produce Safety.

He also serves on the board of directors of what was known as the PMA Education Foundation and has now been christened the PMA Foundation for Industry Talent.

It is in this latter capacity that we give a hat tip to Tim York for sending along this quote:

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Address at University of Pennsylvania
September 20, 1940
Web Full Transcript

This quote can be viewed in this book:

The Gigantic Book of Teachers’ Wisdom
By Erin Gruwell, Frank McCourt
Contributor Erin Gruwell, Frank McCourt
Published by Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2007
Pg. 176

FDR was President when he gave this address, and the occasion for the speech was the bicentennial of the founding of the University of Pennsylvania.

With financial markets imploding, the quote seemed particularly apropos. After all, we actually don’t know what kind of future we are building for our youth.

But the notion that we can build up our youth to face any future is one President Roosevelt was enthusiastic about. FDR was a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. He was president of the New York City Boy Scout Foundation, spearheaded the project to develop Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp, a 12,000-acre wooded camp serving the Boy Scouts of New York City and, later, much of New York State.

FDR was awarded the Scouts highest honor given to adults, the Silver Buffalo award for this work and, as President of the United States, FDR was named honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America and attended the very first National Boy Scout Jamboree in 1937.

PMA has also become deeply involved in the idea of attracting and retaining talent in the produce industry and an attentive visitor to Fresh Summit in Orlando will note the rapid growth of these efforts.

The parturient source of this focus can be found in the generosity of Jay and Ruthie Pack.

The Pundit was fortunate to serve on the steering committee for this program from its start, and so we are proud to see the Pack Career Pathways Program going strong in its fifth year now bringing 38 students plus faculty advisors from 12 colleges and universities across the globe to experience Fresh Summit as an introduction to the produce industry. The success of this program led to the establishment of a twin program, The Nucci Scholarship for Culinary Innovation, to bring culinary students to the PMA Foodservice Conference each year.

Now the efforts will include a career fair, student outreach program, an educational workshop, a networking event, a new scholarship program we will discuss later this week and, for the second year in the row, the Fresh Perspectives: Women’s Leadership Event, which will be held this year on Friday morning, October 24, at the PMA Fresh Summit convention.

This year they have introduced a Silent Auction at the event to help raise money for the foundation. Because this is a limited-attendance event, and auction items are mostly business-related, not personal items, the success of the auction depends crucially on CEOs and owners instructing their executives in attendance to bid on these business items.

To help the enterprise succeed, we donated a “Power Lunch with the Pundit” — here is the description as per the official catalog:

This is the opportunity of a lifetime to experience “up close and personal” the one-and-only Jim Prevor, also known as the “Perishable Pundit.” As founder of both PRODUCE BUSINESS and, Jim is read in over 100 countries each week and has lectured on every continent save Antarctica.

His insights into the future of the produce, fresh foods and retailing industries and how these industries intersect with broad societal trends such as food safety, sustainability, demography, etc., have led CNN, Fox, the BBC and dozens of newspapers and magazines to seek out his perspective.

Jim will dine and discuss with the winning bidder and up to seven friends or teammates at a mutually agreeable place and time. The cost of lunch and travel expenses are included and Jim’s schedule generally allows for travel to most major cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas etc., as well as most major produce centers, such as Salinas, Fresno, Yakima, Vidalia, etc.

Food for your brain and your belly!

We confess that we blush a bit when we read that nice write-up, but we suppose that in trying to raise money this is no time for modesty.

In any case we would like to come visit, buy you and your team a fine lunch and have a nice chat. If you are going to be there, we hope you will bid. If you are not, we hope you will ask someone in your company who is attending to bid for you; and if you can’t make the event and would like us to enter a bid on your behalf, please feel free to let us know right here.

Just the other day, we were writing about J.P. Morgan and his insistence that character, rather than property, was the prerequisite for credit — well we were thinking about that reference when Tim York sent in this quote.

Personal integrity is crucial, and Tim is a strong example for the youth the industry is trying to attract. When the list came out of those who had committed to the industry traceability initiative, which we had written about here, it was notable that Tim’s name and that of his Markon Cooperative were not on it. That is not a decision many of the most influential leaders of the industry would agree with. We are not sure if we agree with it. But Tim felt it wasn’t really going to happen, not in the current economic climate where foodservice distributors are under strain.

The easiest thing in the world would have been to sign the document and then make excuses if it didn’t happen. An unwillingness to do that is a sign of great personal integrity and is admirable completely aside from the substance of the issue.

We wonder if Tim knows that the motto of the University of Pennsylvania, drawn from Horace’s III.24 (Book 3, Ode 24) is Leges Sine Moribus Vanae,or Laws Without Morals are Useless.

Perhaps what President Roosevelt was implying is that whatever the future might bring, it is our responsibility and our opportunity to give the next generation the tools necessary to make a constructive contribution.

This involves more than technical skills. It involves at the core an approach to life built around personal integrity. We think that is what PMA FIT should really be all about.

Many thanks to Tim York for sending along this quote.


Perishable Thoughts is a regular section of the Perishable Pundit. If you have a favorite quote that you would like to share with the industry, please send it on. You can do so right here.

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